Following the news that Nita Strauss was returning to the Alice Cooper camp to provide high spectacle on box-office virtuosity on electric guitar on the forthcoming Too Close For Comfort tour, it is no shock to learn that Hurricane Nita has drafted the King of Shock for a new single, and it’s all kinds of huge.
Titled Winner Takes All, we can reassure you that it is nothing at all like the Abba super-pop track of a similar title, and is a bona-fide funhouse of a track that foregrounds Cooper’s gravel voice and macabre magnetism.
For the most part, Strauss lets Cooper pull focus. The vibe on Winner Takes All is contemporary hard-rock with a soupçon of mid-tempo Euro metal, gang vocals, a big riff that lands right on the grid.
Then, of course, you’ve got the guitar solo, which is Hurricane Nita matching form to content, setting the scene, establishing the melodic stakes – perfect intonation, btw – before unleashing the sort of quicksilver serpentine legato that her Ibanez JIVA signature guitar was designed for. That JIVA neck profile? Well, on the new-for-2022 JIVAX2 it measures just 17mm at the 1st fret, which makes even the legendary Ibanez Wizard neck profile look like it’s carrying some timber. Incredible.
Strauss says it was a no-brainer to get Coop’ in the studio, and that it was “an honor” to get the rock legend on one of her original tracks.
“When we were working on the music for this album, there was no question that I wanted to create a song to collaborate with my longtime boss and friend, the legendary Alice Cooper,” she said in a statement.
“I think the track accomplishes what we set out to do – showcase Alice's voice and signature style on the backdrop of a heavy, modern rock track. After many years of lending my style of playing to Alice’s music on stage, it was truly an honor to work together and hear his voice on one of my songs!”
The track arrives right on time for building anticipation ahead of the Too Close For Comfort tour, which – metaphorically and kinda literally – lets out the python and brings down the guillotine at Mount Pleasant, MI, on April 4.
It’s the first of what is going to be an epic run across the States, with the Alice Cooper/Strauss party hooking up with Def Leppard and the new John 5 Mötley Crüe touring line-up on August 5, and co-headlining the Freaks on Parade tour with Rob Zombie later on in the month. All that is going to shift a lot of beer and T-shirts.
There are no more details about a forthcoming solo album from Strauss, but perhaps we will learn more later this evening (March 22), with Strauss being interviewed by Cooper himself on his Nights With Alice Cooper radio show.
Strauss’s departure from the Alice Cooper touring band was one of the biggest guitar stories of the summer, and she made her next move playing with Demi Lovato, helping the pop superstar usher in a more pop-punk direction. But even at the time, there was always the suspicion she would return and that this was just Strauss broadening the horizons – a move Cooper fully endorsed.
“Nita asked for a leave of absence to work with someone else, something I always encourage my band members to do,” he said. “I like them to challenge themselves and try new things.”
Strauss explained to Guitar World that her gig with Lovato was a great opportunity to widen the appeal of guitar music, and inspire a new cohort of players. Lovato’s fanbase ate it up.
“If we can reach this next generation of passionate and intense fans, and inspire them to play music, isn’t that a wonderful thing?” she said. “They might pick up a guitar or bass, try out drums or see Dani [McGinley] on keys and think, ‘I could do that!’ Some of these younger fans might not have been reached through a traditional rock show.”